How to Connect with God Without Religion

You may be like many today who call themselves spiritual rather than religious. You have lost trust in religion. You no longer see the relevance of faith communities.

You may be among the many who have wandered away from religious institutions and still hunger for mystery, interconnectedness, hope, and community.

Yes, you can have a deep relationship with God without ever entering a church or synagogue or mosque. The advantage of being a part of a faith community is that you have people to support you on the journey. Continue reading

How to Do Your Own Inner Critic Coaching

You have an inner critic. You will never get rid of it.  Instead of fighting it the best plan is to befriend it. Your inner critic wants to keep you safe in the limitations of your ego.  As a child, … Continue reading

The Positive Intent of Your Inner Critic (How you can make it your friend)

When you were young your ego kept you safe. It helped you to become your own person differentiating yourself from others.  It prevented you from making choices that could hurt you.

Your ego helped you to deal with the messiness of life. It was like a parent for you especially if your parents were not present or helpful.   

The positive intent of your inner critic is to keep you safe. It is that part of your ego which exists to keep you under its influence.  As I said above, the ego played an important role in helping you to survive your childhood. You would not have survived without it.

When you grow into adulthood the ego and the inner critic can get in your way if you are not aware of how it is impacting your life. Continue reading

Fifteen Steps for Changing the Voice in Your Head from Inner Critic to Inner Coach

You have heard that critical voice in your head too often. It is demanding. It is impatient. It is demeaning of self and others. It is loud and obnoxious. This demeaning voice is the voice of the inner critic. Your … Continue reading

The Enneagram Type Most Likely to Have Anxiety and How to Heal from It

The Enneagram Type that is most likely to have anxiety is called The Loyalist, and its also known as Type Six.

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If you are a type six personality, this is what you may experience:

·        You have a hard time trusting yourself

·        You have a tendency to ask others for advice

·        You have a tendency to worry about things that are unlikely to happen

·        You experience anxiety

·        You quickly get caught up in fear

·        You like to fix things before they become a problem

·        You want to keep yourself and those you love safe

·        You like everyone to follow the rules

·        As the names suggests you are loyal to those you love and work with

·        You love it when everyone is working well together

·        Some Loyalists deal with their anxiety internally, while others push against their fears.

All people experience stress, and as we have all types in us.  The suggestions I am about to offer will be helpful for anyone.

Here are eleven ways to reduce anxiety:

1.     Meditation:

Type six personalities are most likely to have anxiety. People with anxiety have overactive minds that need quieting down. People who identify as Loyalist tend to focus more on the past and the future than the present.

Your goal is to learn to live in the moment with all your inner wisdom available to you. When you become free from the past and future, the world no longer feels so scary.

Meditation takes you into the present. There is no wrong or right way to meditate. You can turn a walk or gardening into a time of meditation. Any activity that helps you to quiet your mind will help you to relax.

There are Apps such as “Insight Timer” that is available at both the App Store and Google Play.

Use this reflective time to notice what is going on in your body, in your emotions, and in your mind. Just allow yourself to be present with what you are experiencing without trying to do anything about it.

The more you are able to stay with your sensations, emotions and thoughts the less you will react. The less you react, the more clearly you will be able to make important decisions for yourself.

2.     Breathing:

If you are not breathing, you are dead. This is true. Yes, it doesn’t take any thought to breathe. Yet, when we do this with intention we can become more relaxed and home in our bodies.

The more anxious we get, the more and more we breathe shallowly. When you are not breathing deeply, you are no longer present in your body.

Notice this the next time you get anxious. Just with a minute of intentional deep breathing can bring you back into your body.

The wonderful thing is that you can do this anywhere without others even knowing you are doing it.

All you need to do is to breathe in slowly and slowly let it out. You can do this as many times a day as you need to. Please don’t overdo this breathing as it can cause you to hyperventilate.

This should help you to relax. If it is making you worse you are probably trying too hard.

3.     Journaling

If you are a type six, you are most likely to have anxiety. Your mind can quickly get out of control. It gets out of control when you focus on things you have no power over. Writing out your fears can help you to let go of them.You can brainstorm onto paper all the things you are worried about. This in itself can help you to quiet your mind.

The next step is to ask yourself if these fears have any validity to them. What is true? What is the kernel of truth? What can you let go of?

For example, you may be worried about your annual job review. Your mind might be getting the best of you, worrying about all sorts of scenarios that are unlikely to happen.

As you calm down with breathing, ask yourself what the kernel of truth is. Maybe it is that your job is important to you.  The rest are lies. Your experience at work will probably tell you that you have nothing to worry about.

If the worst-case scenario of being fired comes true, will the world end?  The world is not going to end. You will go through a challenging time, but you will find a new job. In the end, all will be well.

 

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4.     Ritual:

Ritual can help you to find inner peace. Ritual, helps you to remember that you are part of something more significant.  These daily, weekly, monthly or yearly routines help you to remember that you have a place in this world.

Ritual does not have to be religious. Ritual can include sitting down and having a cup of-of coffee before you go to work. The ritual can involve sitting down with your family for supper every night.  Ritual can acknowledge significant occasions in our life such as birth, adolescence, becoming an adult, leaving home, the first job, getting married, having children, college, retirement, and death.

Ritual helps you to know that you are on a journey and you are not alone. It reminds you that you have worth. It tells you that you have a purpose in the world.  It reminds you that you have an essential role to play.

5.     Naming Your Inner Critic:

You have an inner critic. Any person with an active inner-critic is most like to have anxiety.  It is the part of your ego that tries to keep you safe. You could not have survived in your early years of life without it.

It is that negative voice within you that is putting you or others down. It is the ego trying to keep you to what it knows.

When you are stuck in the world of your inner critic, life is going to be very stressful. It limits your response to life and leads you to act in ways that are no longer healthy for you.

For us to get healthier, you need to start becoming aware of how you respond to stress in life. There are many tools available to you to help you become conscious of how you react to the ups and downs of life.

I recommend to you the Enneagram Personality system. It shows you what to watch out for and gives you tools to help you become more attuned to your body, emotions, and mind.

With time and practice, you will catch yourself in the act. What I mean is you will start to notice when you are acting out an old pattern that you know longer want to do.

You will eventually get to the point where you will become aware just before you were going to do it and will then have the opportunity to act in new ways.

6.     Be your self:

You are in charge of your own life. When you are online with your three energy centers, you will know how you are meant to live your life.

Your body will let you know what it needs to be healthy. Your heart will let you know how you are to make a difference in the world. Your mind will help you to make your life what you want it to be.

To be yourself you need to listen to the wisdom within you. You will inwardly know the direction you need to go.

Don’t worry what others think of you. If you are on the right path just let go of all the expectations family and friends have of you. In the end, they will respect you for the choices you have made.

7.     Seek community and support:

You need people in your life to be healthy. Being real with other can help us to be more at peace.

Seek out friends and family you can trust. Let them know what is going on with you. You can do the same for them. Just speaking what you are experiencing can reduce anxiety significantly.

Go and enjoy activities with friends and family. Having some fun is one of the best ways to overcome anxiety. Find a friend who helps you to laugh.  Laughing is therapeutic.Sometimes you will need to get professional help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. This is a sign of strength and not weakness.

There are many counselors, coaches and healing practitioners out there. Ask friends and family for suggestions. When you go to your first session ask questions to help you discern if they are the right match for you.

 

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8.     Celebrate Life:

You are given a short time on the planet earth. Use your time for the best.

What do you want to achieve in life? What experiences do you want to have? Don’t keep putting these off. If you really want to do something whether that is going on a trip, learning something new and/or going back to school, make it happen.

Figure out a way to make your dreams a reality. Don’t be afraid to spend money on your self if that investment will help you to do what you have been called to do.

Make sure you take time to play. If you don’t have children in your immediate family find someone else’s children who can teach you to play again.

Play music, dance, make art, write, garden, cook, enjoy good food and sing. Do this until your heart is overflowing with joy!

9.     Love Your Self:

Loving yourself is critical to your wellbeing! There is a big difference between being self-righteous and loving yourself. When you are self-righteous, you are only concerned about yourself. When you love yourself, this is not just for you, but it is also for your friends and family.

A happy, healthy you is the best gift you can give to the world. When you are at your best, you bring your best self to the world.

You love yourself by taking care of your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. What do you need to do more of? What do you need to do less of?

10.You don’t need to be fixed:

You are perfect just the way you are.

Some of us are more likely to have anxiety. This is part of the human condition.

Instead of finding ways to fix yourself, learn to accept yourself just as you are.  Don’t try to hide the emotions, sensations, and thoughts that make you feel uncomfortable.

Allow the sensations and emotions to surface and just be with them. With intentional deep breathing the emotions, sensations, and thoughts become less and less overwhelming.

11.It doesn’t have to be this way!

You may be a person that is more likely to be anxious. All of us face anxiety at some time in our lives.  But the good news is that we don’t need to allow anxiety to continue interfering with your life.

If you identify with type six, the Loyalist, you are more likely to experience anxiety. Yet no matter what type we may identify with being anxious is part of the human condition.

If you work through these eleven suggestions, you will be able to tame your anxiety.

There is no magic solution. Healing from anxiety is a long-term process. It may never totally disappear, but you will experience more joy and ease in your life the more you come to terms with it.

You will find some of these suggestions more helpful for you than others. Explore these activities and see what works best for you.

No matter what happens to remember you are not alone. You have friends and family to help you. When you need more help, there are psychiatrist, counselors, coaches and other healing practitioners.

 

Roland Legge offers life/executive coaching and Enneagram workshops through REL Consultants.  For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online    Please click on “Discovery Call.”

 

Originally Published on the REL Consultants Blog

When Someone Tells You “Anything’s Possible” What Do They Really Mean?

Do you believe that anything’s possible? All of us have great potential. There are more possibilities in life than you can imagine. You Are Born With A Richness Of Gifts So much is possible in your life! You have great value … Continue reading

What Nobdy Tells You About Finding Your Purpose

abstract silhouette of happy young jumping girl, healthy life

How many times have you asked yourself what is my purpose in this world? There are hundreds of books out there telling you how to do it. How many books have you read? No matter how much you have read, you must determine your process to find the direction for your life. Here is what nobody tells you about finding your purpose.

Discover Your Process

There is a fantastic tool called the Enneagram that can help you to find your path in life.

What is the Enneagram?

Have you heard of the Enneagram?  It has changed my life. It can change yours. Working with the Enneagram provides a process for you to find your calling in life. How can it help you?

It helps you to become as present as you can be in the three centers (Head, Heart, and Body). Your job is to become self-aware and open. A good place to start is to name your energy center and to find out what type you are.

This psychological/spiritual teaching suggests that at the beginning of your life your inner-self chooses one of nine different ways to survive in the world which connect to one of three energy centers: Body, Heart, and Mind.  For more information on these three power centers and nine types, please go to the Enneagram Institutes website: 

At the beginning of life, connected to your body, heart, and mind, everything was in harmony.  As you mature, the energy centers get distorted. Blinding you from fully experiencing the world as it is.

No Enneagram Type is Better than AnotherFootReflexologyPink

No one Enneagram type is better than another.  Each personality has its positive and negative attributes.  In fact, your goal is to get as healthy as you can in all nine.  You are much more than your personality.

Head Center

If you are in the head center, like me, you may have far too much going on in your brain. Do you have constant conversations going on in your head?  Do you worry more about the past and future than you focus on the present?  On the positive side, you bring the gift of wisdom to the world.

Heart Center

If you are in the heart center, you might be more concerned with the needs of others than your own needs. If you want to care for others, you need to care for yourself. How good are you at taking care of yourself? On the positive side, you have the gift of knowing what others need, and if you pay attention, you also have the gift to know what you need.

Body Center

If you are in the body center, you have a big heart but are fearful to show it.  Once people get to know you, they will find you are one of the most compassionate people they have met.  You have the gift of intuition which helps you to make wise decisions for yourself and your communities.

Finding Your Purpose

Finding your purpose is all about opening your three energy centers, the body, heart, and head. Discovering your Enneagram type gives you a tool to help you to get healthier through becoming more present.

You Are Amazing

You have an amazing body. How much have you learned from the sensations of your body? Take a moment right now to discern what is happening in your body. Are your muscles relaxed? What feelings are you experiencing in your body?  What is your intuition telling you? Your body will let you know if you are in sink with your purpose.

You have a beautiful heart. How comfortable are you with your emotions? Take a moment to notice what is going on in your heart.  Are you happy, in love, angry, frustrated, irritable? If you pay attention to your emotions, they will tell you much about what you need and give insight into building healthy relationships.

You have a brilliant mind. The struggle for many of us is that our mind gets too active.  Your mind is at its best when the inner-conversation is quiet. If you learn what is important to you in life, you will know what you need to do in each moment.

When you are grounded in your body, open to your heart and a quiet mind you are at your best.  You will know what your purpose is. It will be self-evident.

You Have What it Takes

Finding your purpose is not something you can force. What nobody tells you about finding your purpose is that it comes from becoming attuned to your three energy centers. It is not easy work unlearning old habits. But the rewards are more than worth it.  The more present you can be for yourself the clearer the direction will be for your journey through life.

Roland Legge offers presence based life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online  Please click on “Discovery Call.”

This Article was first published at REL Consultants https://www.relconsultants.com/live-your-best-life-now-blog/finding-purpose

Who is welcome to your table?

Table Fellowship

Sermon – June 12th 2016

4th Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)

By Roland Legge

1 Kings 21:1-21a

Luke 7:36-8:3

By Roland Legge

 

Next Sunday we are going to take part in the sacred meal which we call communion.  Why do we do it?  We do it to remember Jesus.  But even more importantly we do it because it gives us the opportunity to acknowledge that we are all part of God’s amazing family.  This means that every person on earth is part of our family!!

 

Jesus is calling us to love our family even those we do not like. This is no easy task!  But I have no doubt that this is what Jesus expects of us.  Do you agree?

 

Our scripture passages today introduce us to two members of our family the religious people looked down upon.  One of them, the so called “sinful woman” from the Gospel would be no different than a poor person would be today.  Why was she condemned? She had been labeled a sinner.  We do not know what her sins were even though she has been called a prostitute to this very day.  She was certainly a woman that made all the righteous people uncomfortable.

 

We know she was a woman who had been touched deeply by Jesus.  I am guessing that it was Jesus that helped her to recognize that she was loved by God even though she had sinned.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus had helped her to find meaning, purpose and hope in her life.  This woman was so thankful to Jesus that she, with great emotion, shared her heart felt appreciation touching Jesus in intimate ways. This public demonstration of love probably made Jesus host’s even more uncomfortable.

 

Jesus new that she was sorry for her sins because of her genuine penitence, shown in her tears. Through the woman’s brokenness God was able to break through to her.  Unfortunately, the Pharisees were too blinded to see the truth.  Sadly, they could not see the beauty of the transformation taking place because of their denial of their own sinfulness.  Would this sinful woman be welcome at your table?

 

 

Jezebel is a woman who would not be welcome at our table.  Have you ever been called a Jezebel?  If we have most of us would not take this as a complement.  Over the centuries Jezebel has been labeled as evil personified.  She was a woman to take seriously. But was she really as evil as we think?   We are all a mixture of saint and sinner. Maybe if I give you another perspective of Jezebel you might feel more comfortable in inviting her to the family table.

 

Jezebel was a Queen and she took her role seriously. She was also a zealous follower of Baal. Her religion was different from her Jewish husband.  It was an older religion.  It had both male and female gods.  Also, the gods of her religion seemed to be a lot less demanding. So it made sense for her to keep worshiping her god’s.  But then she was seen as a threat by Elijah because she was promoting, what was for him, the wrong god.  Jews were fervent in their belief in a single God rather than a religion of many gods.   Barbara J. Essex sums up well for me a more accurate memory of Jezebel.

She was not a harlot or seductress.  She was not involved in any sexual scenes.  She was a woman from another culture and worldview trying to adjust in a new and strange land.  She was not a villain to be eternally despised—she was religiously committed, politically savvy, determined, self-assured, bodacious, and clever.  She was dedicated to her family and a zealous missionary for Baal.  And she died as she lived—royally!

Bad Girls of the Bible by Barbara J. Essex The Pilgrim Press Cleveland Ohio 1999 pp. 63

Does this question your perspective of her? Are we now ready to invite Jezebel to the table?

 

Now back to our own time. Besides ourselves who are we going to invite to the table.  It is obvious we are going to invite all our friends and family that we get along with.  But who are the people the Spirit wants us to invite that we would rather not?  I know there are people that would make me feel very uncomfortable. What about you?

 

Most weddings I have done in my life have been great.  But once I began to prepare with a bride for a wedding she became very nasty and aggressive.  She decided very quickly that she did not like me and was determined to not have me marry her.  I didn’t.  It was one of the very few times in my life when a person has made accusations against me that were far from the truth.  I was angry and hurt.  I was hurt again when the congregation invited someone I did not respect to be the celebrant for the wedding.    But yet I know that this couple is invited to the table.  I need to remember that the pastor who did the wedding should be invited to the table too.  The miracle is that God invites us to the table no matter how imperfect we are.

 

I remember in grade one when I broke my leg I had the privilege to bring a classmate home after school to play.  I remember there was one girl I did not want to bring home.  But my mother made it very clear to me that she needed to be included.  It would be wrong to exclude her.  That was a powerful lesson for me.  Yes, this girl I wanted to exclude needs to be invited to the table.

 

Inviting my ex-wife to the table would make me feel very uncomfortable.  It is very tempting to blame all the problems of our marriage on her.  I have come to a place in my life where I can be thankful for all I learned in my first marriage.  I wouldn’t be as mature today if I had not gone through the trials and tribulations of my first marriage. I know I need to invite Yvonne to the table even if it will be difficult for me.

 

I do not believe that God is calling us to put ourselves in danger.  But I do believe God is calling us to keep breaking down the walls between us.  This is no easy job!! It is a lifelong calling.  We might not get further than trying to see that of God in another person.  It might not be more than naming an abuse which gives the abuser the opportunity to take responsibility for their behavior.

 

Who do you need to invite to the table? Who are the people you most despise?  Who are the people who have a lifestyle that makes no sense to you?  Who are the people that make you feel uncomfortable?  Who are the people you feel inadequate around?  We could fill our church several times over with the people we need to invite to our family table.

 

Are you ready to come to the table?  God is expecting you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Mystery

Monsal Dale UK July 2011 (3)

Sermon – May 22nd 2016

Trinity Sunday (Year C)

By Roland Legge

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

 

 

 

Do you believe in the Trinity?  Most of us in the United Church would agree that we believe in the Trinity.  But what does this really mean?

 

Our scripture invites us into a dialogue to discover the many ways we can experience the holy in our lives.  In Proverbs we are told about Mother Wisdom who has been with us since the beginning of time. Mother Wisdom or Sophia is the very feminine image of the holy.  She is loving, creative, compassionate, wise and just.  She is in full relationship with God. Romans reminds us of the person of Jesus who gave us another lens to view God, not unlike Mother Wisdom and God.   In the Gospel according to John we are reminded of the Holy Spirit who is again much like Mother Wisdom, God and Jesus.

 

The doctrine of the Trinity has come to be to help make sense of the mystery of the holy.  It suggests that God is both one and three.  God is relational. For example, God expresses itself through the Spirit.  God expresses itself through Wisdom.  God expresses itself through the person and spirit of Jesus and most importantly through each of us. I love this description of the Trinity by Brian McLaren:

“In the early church, one of the most powerful images used for the Trinity was the image of a dance of mutual indwelling. The Father, Son, and Spirit live in an eternal, joyful, vibrant dance of love and honor, rhythm and harmony, grace and beauty, giving and receiving. The universe was created to be an expression and extension of the dance of God – so all creatures share in the dynamic joy of movement, love, vitality, harmony, and celebration. But we humans broke with the dance. We stamped on the toes of other dancers, ignored the rhythm, rejected the grace, and generally made a mess of things. But God sent Jesus into the world to model for us a way of living in the rhythm of God’s music of love, and ever since, people have been attracted to the beauty of his steps and have begun rejoining the dance.” -Brian McLaren, Found in Translation

 

I imagine God as this creative energy that continues to animate life for each of us and all of Creation.  If I just look around I will see, feel, and experience God.  I see God in each of you.  I feel God within me.  I experience God in the sound of the bird, the bark of a dog and the meow of a cat.  Where do you experience God?

 

For me the creative loving force we will call God is a mystery.  God is way beyond anything we can comprehend.  When we express God we are limited by our humanness.  Many of you grew up with the image of God as father.  Some of you still appreciate it today.  But God is way beyond the image of father.   There is no perfect definition of God. Here are some descriptions I use:

  • Father
  • Mother
  • Friend
  • Creator
  • Redeemer
  • Saviour
  • Healer
  • Child
  • Lover

And much more.

 

Feminist are transforming our church and world through their take on how God – Three in One can tear down the barriers that humans have built up through greed, fear, and hunger for power. This is what feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruther says:

 

Feminists are seeking an alternative understanding of power: power as mutual-empowerment, power that does not dominate, force, or coerce, but heals, reconciles, and transforms. In the presence of such power, we are not demeaned or rendered vile and unworthy, nor made helpless and called to submit; rather we are called into healthy self-esteem, into the power of one’s own creative agency that can affirm the good potential and creative agency of others.

Healing power dissolves the competitive model of power relations where one side’s power is the disempowerment of the other side; where one side’s victory is the defeat of the other side. Healing power repents, forgives, and transforms relationships so that both sides of former conflicts are enlivened, made whole, and enabled to rejoice in one another’s well-being. This is the appropriate understanding of the power of God, not models of power drawn from human relations of domination, war, and violence.

https://sojo.net/preaching-the-word/image-gods-goodness?parent=46596

 

I believe that God is most active in community.  When we come together in community doing the work of the Spirit the work we do gets magnified many times over.  The mystery that what we do as a community is much more than what the same number of individuals could do alone.  Why does this happen? It is because the God energy becomes stronger and stronger when people with the same intent come together.  It somehow unleashes the energy of the Holy Spirt on more and more people.  It inspires acts of kindness and compassion in more and more people.  It spreads the love of God among more and more people.

 

The wonder of God as father, son and holy spirit or creator, redeemer and sustainer that this force of love continues to open our hearts that of recognizing God in more and more people.  We would not be marrying divorce people if it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit.  We wouldn’t be recognizing the ability of women to be clergy in our United Church without the Holy Spirit.  We wouldn’t have become a welcoming church for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, trans-gendered and two spirited people without the Holy Spirit.  The power of the Holy weaving in and out of our lives everything life-giving is possible, even the end of violence in our world not only toward people, but toward the whole creation.

 

May we unleash the power of the Holy on Foam Lake and continue to break down the barriers in our community whether they be social, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, and age that prevents us from truly being the people of God.  The Spirit will guide us on our way.